Last month, Congressional nominee Abigail Spanberger ultimately get her chance to face off against her opposing Rep. Dave Brat in the only in-person debate between them of the all-important midterm elections. Over such courses of the 90 -minute event, the candidates sparred on everything from healthcare to stagnant wages. Throughout Brat, a Tea Party Republican endorsed by Trump in Virginia’s 7th District, repeatedly brings up House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; More than 20 periods he referred to Spanberger as a blank check on “the Nancy Pelosi liberal agenda.”
In a now viral clip, Spanberger offers a stunning abandonment of Brat’s attempt to box her in: “I am not Nancy Pelosi, and I am not President Barack Obama, ” she says, her voice clear as a bell. “I am the status of women who grew up in Henrico County, who grew up in this community, who was taught service, hard work, and a commitment to the idea that the American people can be anything, and we will lead countries around the world in this way. And that’s who I am … and I ask for your vote on November 6th. Abigail Spanberger is my name! “
That distinction is important for Spanberger to build just a few periods ahead of the crucial midterm elections, as she’s invited to take part in a dead heat against Brat to represent a territory that has been held by Republicans for almost 50 times, and which Trump won by 7 phases in 2016.( For the record, Spanberger has said that she wouldn’t poll for Pelosi to remain the House Democrats’ president .) Stretching from the rural farmland outside of Culpeper in the north to the suburbiums south of Richmond, the 7th District, for the first time in recent history, has a fighting chance of turning blue as Democrats attempt to flip the House. It’s also never been represented by a woman.
“Our district is a 50 -5 0 district, so it’s incredibly important that we have a representative who is focused on bringing people together and creating long-lasting legislation, ” Spanberger told Refinery2 9. “Right now, we’re on this teeter-totter which is something we make progress when one party has all the command, and I don’t think that’s health for our democracy.”
Ahead, in a phone interview, Spanberger tells us more about her region, her campaign strategy, and why she thinks young people will turn out to vote.
Your background is in law enforcement and the CIA. What motivated you to run for bureau?
“Where we are as countries around the world, we need people who are focused on problem-solving and truly trying to address the needs of people throughout our communities. There’s just a desire to move the country to a better place and stresses the importance of productive, real, earnest governance and electing legislators who want to do their job and work hard to create legislation thats impactful.”
Brat was once caught on tape saying to a group of constituents, “Since Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go.” You’ve attained healthcare one of the central issues in your race, as it is in so many races across the country. Why is that?
“It’s the number-one issue people across the district focus primarily on. My focus is on ensuring people have affordable, quality healthcare. People shouldn’t have to choose between paying for their prescription drugs and putting food on the table. Closing infirmaries is a concern, particularly in the urban specific areas of our territory. People’s fears[ about healthcare] are truly the same, but they manifest in slightly different ways. In the suburbs, people are worried about the costs of their prescription drugs; in rural communities people are worried about the costs of their prescription drugs and the closure of urban hospitals.”
How would you characterize your campaign strategy compared to Brat’s? He reportedly stopped holding town halls after being heckled about wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act in May 2017.
“When I got into this race, my priority was to got to get out and satisfy as many people as possible. I felt there was a need for change. Just because it’s always been Republican, doesn’t mean it has to stay represented by a Republican. I started having meet-and-greets in life and dining room, open fulfills for people to get employed; that’s truly been the successful part of our strategy. The incumbent won’t hold town halls or engage with voters. A representative ought to have been hard a discussion with people even if they disagree.”
In a year when more Democratic nominees have spoken in favor of abolishing ICE( U.S. Immigrants and Customs Enforcement ), you don’t support that issue and have come out with a more centrist, border-security message. What’s your overall strategy on migration?
“I have yet to meet a Democrat who doesn’t crave a secure borderline. My experience with the CIA should be additional validation that I am committed to keeping this country safe. I worked to keep home countries safe from terrorist threats. When we’re talking about immigrants and margin protection, the issues get conflated in an ineffective way. We need to know who and what is coming over, but it’s likewise about constructing smart options. Building a giant wall that people can ascent over and under[ like my adversary wants to] is a silly litter of fund. Like healthcare, immigration has become a political punching bag. Republican want to use the issue to stoke anxiety and create splits. We requirement comprehensive in-migration reform. The Senate previously extended a good bill, but the Speaker of the House wouldn’t pick it up. We need to start over.”
What do you think of Trump’s recent promise to end birthright citizenship — right before an important election he seems concerned about losing?
“This is one more example of the president being really ill-informed on issues that are incredibly important to people in this country and working to create anger and separation within our communities . … For him to tweet that in any way he can summarily change one of the key principles of our country and who we are is talking about his lack of leadership. If he wanted to raise the notion of birthright citizenship…it’s in matters of possible for him to raise as an issue. As he so often does, he recklessly misinforms people. And now, it’s become a distraction.”
Young people came out in historic amounts for Virginia’s last election, which psychoanalysts called “the revenge of the suburbs ” after Democrats and women scored big wins. Is this a sign of what’s to come in just a few periods?
“Particularly ladies have come up to me and said, I’m here because my daughter or my son has come to meet you — that has happened multiple times. … It’s so incredibly important that younger people within our communities are told that people in politics care about their ruling, and their sentiment is confirmed. I anticipate the numbers are going to be pretty good. According to the Virginia Public Access Project( VPAP ), turnout among young people was style up in 2017. That stimulates “i m feeling” enthusiastic. And not just among young people: We were just in Orange County, where many people told me they had never been at a political event before mine. I met a woman who is currently 99 years old and had only voted once; for me in the primary. It’s very common at our occurrences for people to say, ‘I’ve never been at a political occurrence before, but here I am.'”
What does it mean to you that a purple district like the 7th is competitive for a Democrat for the first time in 50 times?
“We have a strong campaign, and we are talking about issues that are important to voters, things that are really important to people in the district. People here locally want legal representatives who’s concentrate on their needs. I’m talking about reinstating civility to Washington and bipartisanship, and about how to get things done, and how as countries around the world we can come back together and move forward.
“I am running the campaign that I would want to vote for. That is at the core of how I’ve stimulated selects along the way — who I am as a voter, be a primary consideration in my own experience in the CIA and in public service. The direction we stimulate the best presented in a correctly functioning two-party structure is when we have the push and pull of different ideas.
“People across our district have recognized that we can’t govern on autopilot, that our republic is as strong as the compiling of citizens who will be involved. It’s important and necessary for people to get involved.”
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